Sunday, November 30, 2014

chew your food


Yesterday had a particular complication.

A surprise of sorts.

I'm just going with it's good luck to find a squirrel in your toilet.

Today I am grateful those eyes did not open during removal.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


It has been at least a year since I saw her. Them. A year.

Someone slow those people down, please.

2011. It's a photo I used for a magazine. She is six, has on a white dress and is holding a single red flower in her hand. She's looking up at the camera with huge brown eyes and a type of smirk like Yeah. I know. The world is a playground. You're beautiful. I'm beautiful. Let's just take pictures all day.

That photo session is a prime reason someone would want to take photos of people. Peyton is from some of my favorite people. Her Grandmother and Aunt provided a Thanksgiving meal for my Dad because I said they would and I realized what an ass I was Wednesday morning when I called Peyton's Aunt to tell her that I would be picking up two plates on Thursday to take to my Mom and Dad in Louisiana. After I got off the phone I was all, Damn. It was Peyton's aunt's birthday, and I always sing the song to her and I had not even so much as muttered any type of another year older greeting. I obviously sucked as a human being, called back before she could figure out how to block my calls and sang Happy Birthday on her voicemail.

She still hasn't figured out how to block my calls. She'll have to ask Peyton. Here is 2012.

In 2013 I photographed a change, a more serious Peyton.

Yesterday I was selling Christmas cards on the side of the street, and I'll have to admit that I'm not much of a street vendor so if you want some Christmas cards created by art students I am in possession of a surplus.


If everyday brings not so much along with the much and all the success stories of the world met with some failings along the way then I'd have to say that shopping done by a particular family meant I could snap a few photos of a particular supermodel I've been working with for years.

Except now she is an inventor as well. Her drawings of the hovercraft we will require to take five second trips to anywhere in the world (where we can only stay an hour, but I'm hoping she can remedy that issue) were detailed down to the pulleys attached by cables to the dome within which we could take a five second nap as it travelled to the destination we programmed into it's computer. No, we will not need beds. The floor is pillowy, she says.

While her little sister Maddie says, Explore. Explore. Explore.

So it seems in 2014 we have the explorer and the creator. I hope they change their minds a million times or stick on the path they are on. It doesn't matter.

What I am grateful for is that along this journey I get to watch them grow and become and be, and that is an honor I never could have imagined.

Friday, November 28, 2014

new day

Moon Hollow Farms
When the whole world is rioting and shopping and spinning so fast you can hardly see this is at least one of the places I may be.

Today I am grateful for the very kind and gracious people I met in Louisiana yesterday. A special shout out goes to the beautiful lady who was in charge of cleaning my Dad's room.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dear Dad,

The orange of Yellow Dog Print
As of late people have doing a lot of talking about seeing another's perspective, and I see their point but try as I might it happens that I don't always understand. The point you were at last night? Well. Nah, I'd rather not see that.

I'd rather be where we are right now when I heard your voice on the phone tonight.

Here's the thing I now notice about gratitude, something I guess I didn't necessarily expect:

Sometimes, like yesterday, I worry I wasn't grateful enough and something I needed to be more grateful for got taken away. It can make you a little crazy, make you say thank you for everything for fear something/someone you took for granted will vanish.

Then I tell myself that I am not near as powerful as I like to imagine, and I breathe relief that you're still here.

Which means I need to perfect my gratitude.

Hone my skills, a resolution on a holiday.

I am going to get better at this.

Today I am grateful for you, for your voice, your sense of humor, those little things I heard you did and said which let me know, Yep, that's my Dad.

What is so special about Thanksgiving this year? I get to see you, Dad.

I know you don't listen to much any Jack Johnson, but I found this and thought of you.

this is not a grand jury indictment

Moon Hollow Farms

One of my favorite things about Moon Hollow Farms is that you don't have TV. There is no fastest internet or media being blared through a hole somewhere. You may need to go to a particular spot to get better reception on your cell phone. It may scare you at first, how quiet it is and when you come back from there you may realize you missed something. Everyone else in the world knew about the Michael Brown verdict before you.

But that didn't change it. It didn't change the fact that a city tried to burn itself down in 2014 right around the holidays and hate and anger and we learned this a long time ago and it applies to everyone of us:

"Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned."  Buddha

But listen. I understand the need for people to shout in our faces that we are separate and different. Think how powerful we would be if we came together, if we connected. No, fighting amongst ourselves benefits governments and people. It increases our economies, puts our soldiers and construction crews and journalists and emergency personnel and police and Jesse Jackson and even writers I like to read to work. Don't worry. We'll still be able to trade money for goods.

We had soldiers die in Afghanistan. (you may have missed the report on November 24th)
Fifty people were killed and someone is saying local police should be strengthened.

This is not as good as it gets, people. We (all of us) are better than this.
I know this for a fact because I've seen it in us.

Today I am grateful for the quiet of Moon Hollow Farms, that there are people of this world who were there last night to help my Dad, and my family will be introduced to even more brilliant, talented people in this world who will now help him get better.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

the window

The shirt is at least twenty years old. It was his uncle's but is now the young man's favorite. The fabric, some of the thinnest, softest fabric in the world, is worn in such a way across his shoulders that nobody would blame you if you assumed he at once was in a fight with a lion.

He uses the word fulfilling when considering career options. He talks about purpose but not often. It's one of those sentences you catch when you don't expect and all of a sudden it is there. At twenty-three our young men are getting out of college and looking into the world and asking, Fulfilling?

And don't you want to give them the best job in the world.

I do.
(but this is something he has to do and I have to allow him to do it and maybe I'm right and maybe I'm lazy but

there has to be a certain amount of faith in this world.

"What do you want for Christmas?"

"I don't need anything."

I don't push it anymore. I simply watch and listen and decide he likes to walk (the great pacer of this world) and has found a recent appreciation for a particular brand of shirt. A couple of pair of khakis wouldn't hurt. And socks. I should at least cover his cold, bare feet. He is a history buff so possibly a book.

Have you heard about? Did you know? Our conversations are filled with what we read/heard/saw, and there is a time obviously when I looked up and realized I gave birth to one of my best friends in the whole wide world.

Today, everyday, I am grateful for that guy, my son.

In other news I have a movie recommendation.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Moon Hollow Farms

Today I am grateful to spend time with my kid.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I want to tell you something beautiful

, but I don't want to say anything

to distract you from how beautiful it is.

Today I am grateful for tradition, for how who we were became who we are today.

Friday, November 21, 2014

it means something

southern autumn, option three

My Mom was a basketball player. This meant something. It meant she was tough and strong and healthy and she took care of herself because she wanted to win.

She'd even work weekends and through a holiday and practice meant something.

There was less television, more water.

There was commitment.


The will to survive.

The knowing you can.

Panthers meant something.


You sure wouldn't go down without a fight.

Today I am grateful to ask students for who/what they are thankful. I am grateful for how they smiled or paused or seemed nervous or excited or however they were in the moment. I am grateful we were able to capture it. What you see is, I mean a million years from now if you look back and we are history and people wonder and just one person uncovers the photo above

the future meant something to my Mom and those young women.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

the give, the take

He has had his number changed three times since we met. I know what you're thinking, but he always gives me the next one. He is not trying to run away from me.

This relationship has turned into one of those you'd miss them if they left. Like a hostage situation where they have someone you think you need in your life and they say give me your blow pop and you're all like but it's green apple and they're Exactly. Give me the green apple blow pop or you'll never talk to this guy again.

So you have to. You have to admit to yourself that you would give up a green apple blow pop to continue a conversation you've been having for the last nine years.

This is the part of the story when he and I both say, Nine years? You're kidding me, and all at once that question/statement means it seems like yesterday and it feels like forever and it is scary. In fact it would be easier to sky dive than admit someone has you in a hostage situation.


What if one day you ran out of the blow pops and you couldn't save someone and

you know what I mean.

Or not.

We'll just leave this one here for now.

Today I am grateful for a particular conversation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Picasso, Third Grade Interpretation

He once told me that I needed to know the rules before I broke them.
Solid writing advice, I knew it when I heard it.

1. Take that away. You'll be amazed at how many times you put it in a story.

Monet, Third Grade Interpretation

Same thing with photography.
2. Look for the noise in your piece. Eliminate it.

Third Grade, Constable Style

There was this one teenager in the community art show we did. I remembered him from class last year. Talented to the point you weren't likely to forget him soon. He was just that good and though none of his works were shown at the show he came with his Mama and he led her around the room and then found me about an hour into it.

"Hey, Ms. Goff."

"Hi, Justin. How are ya'?"

"Hey. Um. Okay. Yeahwell, I didn't even know y'all were doing this. But. Yeah. Um whenever you do it again do you think I can put some of my work in it?"

Ohmygosh we have to do this again, I think. Then, "Yes. No doubt. We'd be honored to have you here. I'll let you know on the next one. It's cool you came with your Mom. She seems so sweet."

He smiles not the mischievous smile I saw in class last year. This smile, it was different.

Third Grade, Warhol

And in a dream life this is the life I would live. Getting to know students like Justin and having a portion of my evening involving photographing and later pretending I am some art critic reviewing a third grade art show. Writing and photography combined into does it get any better than this?

I can't imagine that it does but then I never imagined this.

Third Grade Pointillism

And I never knew I could love learning this much.

Today, again, over and over, I am so very grateful for the teachers of this world. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

southern autumn, too

The Curiosity Shoppe

The photo above is option two for Sowashee Power & Light which is due in less than five days now.

At least part of a southern autumn is shopping and ornaments and dishes for special occasions. A framed photo, a candle. A sign which says bless your heart all year through. The warmness of a fuzzy blanket, the scent of a particular lotion, a special soap, a gift certificate for family photos.

You know.
For that special lady. There are billions of them out there.

But kids. I don't even know what kids want these days.

One year Slater wanted a toaster. (I can't tell you how I felt as a mother when my child at ten years old looked at me and said, "All I want is a toaster. Get me a toaster.")

I just went with that feeling, "Slater, you can't just get a toaster. Christmas is not about getting an appliance." After a short pause I added, "Especially one that only does one thing."

"Why not?"

"Because it's Christmas and I think you have to want a toy. I mean of course you're going to get socks and underwear and a new pair of jeans and maybe a sweater and do you need a coat?"

"No, I don't need any more clothes. I want a toaster."

"But a toaster. Baby, you can't need just a toaster. What does that say about me as a mother?"

"What do you mean?"

"There's a couple o' things. First, it sounds like you can't even make toast. And that's a lie. All you have to do is open up the oven, put the bread in and turn it on. Turn it off when you're done. Secondly, you sound like some poor child who has no way to warm his bread."

"But I want a toaster."

"But a toaster only does one thing. It only toasts. An oven does that and more. Why would you want an appliance that only does one thing?"

"I don't care. I want a toaster."

"You have to pick out a toy, too."


"Because it's Christmas, child." (exclamation point)

The hardest person for whom to buy something is the guy who only wanted a toaster and refuses to throw away his old pair of shoes and even today does what temperature will it be if I refuse to turn on the heat experiments in his apartment. I asked him how his roommate felt about the temperature thing. "Oh yeah, he's totally into it," he said. "Right now though he's sick and in bed and I have to put on rudimentary clothing, you know, to check the thermostat."

"Rudimentary? Your roommate is sick. Yeah. Check the thermostat." I smile. My kid.

The roommate most likely needs some good socks as well, but at least there's a toaster he can use.

His Nana bought him a toaster that year.

Today I am grateful for a toaster and what it meant to my kid.

Here is his movie recommendation during a southern autumn this year.

Monday, November 17, 2014

the theory of everything

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Isaac Newton

Today I am grateful for the quiet, the stillness, the time to think.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

how do you taste?

It was interesting. Hypersensitivity in children described as a form of synesthesia. There was this one guy in a book I read who tasted shapes and cooked to particular points. The roast was not ready because it was not sharp enough. He told this to a neurologist who was at his house having dinner and the neurologist recognized what it was. I think you have something called synesthesia, the neurologist said.

I need for you to come to my office and we'll run some tests on you. It's not common, but there are others out there who swap senses, hear color and even taste shapes like you.

The guy, the one with synesthesia, was elated. Someone finally had a name for why he was different. And there were others. He had lived his whole life pretending like he was like his friends because he discovered when he was about five that the other kids didn't taste food the way he did. And a five year old kid is scared to be different.

I still have never heard of a case of a child who is considered to be hyperemotional as one who has synesthesia, but I think it did say "a form of" so yeah. It has to do with the senses and brain wiring and what will show up on an EEG. And ohmygosh, the way the brain is lit up. Like a fire for different things for different people.

What the story says is there is always someone out there like you.

My brain lit up when I read this. It's a beautiful book.

Today I am grateful that people share their stories.

Friday, November 14, 2014

like the Coca Cola recipe

This is the base ink, but the special recipe to a Yellow Dog shirt is the particular mix of sweat and tears of happiness which fell in the pail as we watched the last order leave the barn.

Who knew there were t-shirt emergencies?

Today, again, I am grateful to work with my brother.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

southern autumn

what if nobody else controlled our minds? what would we do? who would we be?
I'd find a beach in a southern winter.

It's the next photo prompt from Sowashee Power & Light.

I have to do this. I didn't do the last one because I was supposedly so busy but basically I was busy trying to control all the work I didn't want to do or I did want to but it felt like a lot so I didn't do the photo prompt.

I felt like I failed the class, but those people are kind and allowing me to continue my studies.
This time, on the southern autumn assignment, I feel like I really need to step it up and step out.

Above is choice number one, and I'll tell you why.

It's November. The most special guy I ever knew is having a birthday this month. So is my second mother and her daughter. There is Thanksgiving which is really everyday so don't listen to them.

Then Christmas.

The pressure to buy presents.

To give gifts to people you'd give the world if you had it.

I'd be Elvis. Mom would get a house in town and a cover for the pool. I'd send Kim and Mark on a trip to California. Slater would get a Tesla though I don't know how'd he ever charge it. Jess would get a party with all her friends. Shelbs would get some land and a trailer in wherever she's headed. Aunt Wanda would get the best smelling candle ever. Dad would get the Woody property. Little Bird a laptop though I feel bad for typing that. Nana, a large canvas print of her love more. Sue, a gift card. My brothers and their wives would get one gift certificate so they could all go out one night. Rick would get his castle and servants.

Wyatt and Sweetie would get an I don't know since they seem so happy with what they have.

And what if we are


with everything surrounding us right now?

What if we didn't need anything else? Everything else was just some want. Like new shoes. A winter coat. A small, electric heater. Canned goods. A really warm sweater and one really great pair of socks. And they didn't have to match and it doesn't matter if Christmas trees are stitched on them.

What if our kids got a list? They could take it home or not. Their parents could decide to take them to the store or not. The kid could or could not pick out a toy from the list, purchase it with let's say whatever they may have or may have not. Then the kid could deliver it to some center.

I am going to buy this at our local Co-Op and put $50 in the pocket.
Then I am going to give it to this guy who has made a habit of giving gifts to kids each year.
I trust him to get that coat to a kid who needs it, and I trust him to spend that $50 as he sees fit.

Maybe someone needs to keep their lights on.
I don't know.
I just know that it can be tough out there.

Especially now when you want to give the world to the people you love.
I'm told we're supposed to love everyone.
But you and I both know we don't have the world so you give as many all you can and hope that's enough.
It will be.
No pressure.
I promise.

Today I am grateful to be able to burn a candle, to have gas for my stove, a working heater, blankets and pillows, food, socks, shoes, and I am grateful for some local people who made it their mission to help provide for those who may need all those material things which make my life good

this southern autumn.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014




Today I am grateful the list is getting shorter, and I can't help but hope there'll come a day when we don't have to list any more.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


His name was Mr. Walt though I don't know that he was all that much older than me. If older. It's just that he was a soldier, a part of our national guard and a leader to my son's local boy scout troop. That's been years ago. He had a sweet family, a wife and three lovely children.

I don't know all the wars he saw, but I do know that he went to Iraq about nine years ago. He was a veteran, and today is Veteran's Day. Typically I don't let a calendar of holidays dictate the subject matter on this blog, but today I will attend a Veteran's Day event with some kids and I thought about that and Mr. Walt came to mind.

Mr. Walt represents so many soldiers I have met and with whom I have shook hands and if I didn't say thank you someone please knock me upside the head.

Because even more than that war

Mr. Walt had

a voice,
a presence,
a confidence,
a kindness,
a generosity of time and consideration,
a strong faith,
a loyalty,
an honesty,
a strength,

and I am sure I am forgetting something.

But I remember thinking when he was off in Iraq how lucky those people were to have him on the ground around their friends, husbands, wives and children. It did occur to me that he was the best guy I could imagine to show people from another country what we wanted to say as Americans.

And to help. I can vouch for Mr. Walt being a helpful guy.

Today I am grateful for Mr. Walt, that my son got to know him and be led by him.
That when Slater and I talk about him now it comes with a great level of respect.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

these parts

If today you were to ask me from what parts I come I would smile and tell you, "I hail from one of the funkiest, coolest, little art towns in the state of Mississippi. You should see it."

Today I am grateful for this place and these people.